By Olga Pena

Killeen Daily Herald

BELTON Newly formed Groundwater Management Area 8 will now control the availability of underground water and its management decisions that were previously made by the state of Texas.

GMA-8, as designed by the Texas Water Development Board, is made up of several groundwater conservation districts that include 26 counties.

Before, the state of Texas would determine the availability of water in Bell County, but not any longer, said Clearwater Underground Water Conservation District President Horace Grace. House Bill 1763 has given us authority to determine the availability of water underground in aquifers and to manage that water.

In 2003, state legislation carved out 16 GMAs in Texas and the 79th legislative session passed House Bill 1763 in 2005, which set parameters on functions of the GMAs.

The CUWCD hosted the first meeting for GMA-8 on Wednesday.

Its going to be a real challenge to get everybody on the same page, said CUWCD assistant secretary Cheryl Maxwell. Were looking forward to what we have to do.

GMA-8 consists of the Central Texas Groundwater Conservation District (GCD), Fox Crossing Water District, Middle Trinity GCD, Post Oak Savannah GCD, Saratoga GCD and CUWCD.

Maxwell explained that some districts have already conducted studies determining water needs while others are in the beginning stages of research.

Youve got a wide range of knowledge right now, Maxwell said.

Once the group organizes itself, elects officers and sets bylaws, decisions on aquifers will begin.

We have to decide how much we want to draw down those aquifers, Grace said. You can pull down so much and let it recharge itself.

An aquifer is an underground layer of water-bearing permeable rock, or permeable mixtures of unconsolidated materials such as gravel, sand, silt or clay.

Aquifers are best described as saturated regions of the subsurface that produce an economically feasible quantity of water to a well or spring.

GMA-8s major aquifers are the Northern Trinity aquifer and the Edwards aquifer.

The next scheduled meeting for GAM-8 will be Feb. 21.

Contact Olga Peña at

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